The Honda Passport nameplate was resurrected for the 2019 model year, and while we would think that a two-row SUV made by Honda would sell well, the numbers say otherwise. Of course, it could be too early to tell, considering that it’s only been in the market for a year or so. But if sales continue to be low and slow, can we consider the Honda Passport to be a flop?
The Honda Passport sold better as an Isuzu Rodeo
Some may remember the older Honda Passport, which was actually a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo. It was in production from 1993 to 2002 and during that time, Honda saw much success with the model merger with Isuzu as it sold nearly 25,000 units per year on average. However, the new rendition of the two-row SUV is not doing as well.
Taking a look at the current sales statistics on Car Salesbase, Honda has only managed to sell around 3,000 units per month since the Passport went on sale in the beginning of 2019. And while we can still take into consideration that the slow sales could be due to the fact that the Passport is relatively new, the numbers don’t lie. The Kia Telluride, for example, saw massive sales success within the first few months of it being in the market, let alone for the whole year, so popularity likely has something to do with it.
What’s wrong with the Honda Passport?
It’s not that there’s anything technical wrong with the Honda Passport, but the lack of sales could be due to it not fulfilling the niche that Honda aimed for. The Passport did arrive at a great time as consumers are gravitating toward SUVs for their added cargo and passenger room. However, Honda meant for the Passport to fill the small gap in between the CR-V and the Pilot for anyone that wants more room than the what the compact crossover can provide, but doesn’t need the added space or three rows of seats.
Is there a need for such a car? Yes, as the Passport does have popular rivals in the segment including the Chevrolet Blazer and the Hyundai Santa Fe, but those cars are selling well. Hyundai has been selling around 7,000 units per month from the beginning of 2020 and Chevrolet has seen much success with the new Blazer as it has moved over 41,800 units in 2020 thus far. By comparison, Honda has only sold around 19,314 Passports as of July 2020.
The Passport hasn’t received the greatest reviews
Again, it’s not that the Honda Passport is a bad car by any means, however, just as the numbers don’t lie, some of the reviews of the car haven’t been stellar either. Consumer Reports gave the Passport a low overall score of 59 out of 100 — which is far behind its rivals and stablemates – stating that reliability, ride quality, and vehicle’s overall handling to be pain points. They also noted that the nine-speed automatic transmission doesn’t pair well with the car’s V6 engine, that the infotainment controls are “confounding,” and that the seats need more bolstering.
But the good news is that if the reviews don’t sway your decision and you do happen to be in the market for a new Honda Passport, then Motor1 has reported that you can potentially receive over $2,000 in savings thanks to a Honda loyalty discount as well as a $1,250 discount in unadvertised savings. It looks as if dealers will happy to get the Passports off their lots. Otherwise, if Honda Passport sales continue to diminish, we would be surprised if it lasted another year or two. And in that case, Honda could have another flop in its hands.